NMC Aviation Dept. Focuses On Aircraft Safety

Learning how to operate a small aircraft is no easy task — a lot of training is involved.

“Winter flying is always a challenge in the Michigan area and the Great Lakes region,” said Al Laursen, Northwestern Michigan College Aviation Department Instructor.

This is video of a 172 Skyhawk — a similar aircraft to the Cessna 182 Skylane that crashed in Wisconsin Monday morning.

Al Laursen teaches at the Aviation Department at Northwestern Michigan College.

He says making an emergency landing is one of the first things his students are taught.

“They are taught to always be looking for an emergency landing field that is suitable,” said Laursen.

And there are certain areas they are looking out for.

“We teach them to land in an open field, somewhere without power lines and without tall trees,” said Laursen.

In the plane crash on Monday— the wings iced over.

Laursen says weather can be the biggest challenge when flying.

“A change in a couple degrees can drastically alter what a pilot actually experiences in flight,” said Laursen.

So how does this make a difference in the air?

“If you have a lot of ice on the airplane– the airplane is not going to handle in the way that you’re used to,” said Laursen. “It’s going to glide and it’s going to descend much faster.”

And Laursen says safety is always top priority.

“If you can’t hold out altitude anymore with full power— you have to find a place to land and you may not have a lot of choices,” said Laursen.